After analyzing three years of visitor stats for the GRAVELBIKE site, it’s pretty clear that people like reading about tires. This year alone, five of the top-ten articles have been tire reviews. One of the more popular pieces is last summer’s review of Hutchinson’s Sector 28 tires. With the increased interest in road tubeless setups, we decided to give the Sector 28s a second look.
When we first tested the Hutchinson Sector 28 tires, we paired them sans-tubes with Pacenti SL23 rims. That combination produced an extremely smooth ride, but the tires’ tight fit made us dread a roadside tube swap if the sealant failed to fix a puncture. So for this go-around, we opted to test the Sector 28 tires with and without inner tubes on rims of various widths.
Installed with inner tubes on both narrow and wide wheelsets, we were pleasantly surprised at just how lively the Sector 28 tires felt. Fitted with 80g Mavic tubes, the Hutchinson tires retained most, if not all of their supple tubeless feel. Despite a minor weight penalty, acceleration was on par with lighter tires of similar size such as the 700×28 Panaracer Gravelking (using identical rims and tubes). Interestingly enough, we ended up running the same pressure (70-75 front, 80-85 rear) with inner tubes and in tubeless mode.
For our tubeless testing, we used HED’s Ardennes Plus LT wheels and Caffelatex sealant. Mounting the Sector 28 tires was effortless with the 25mm-wide HED rims, and the beads seated at 50-60psi using a standard floor pump. As we stated in our original review, the Hutchinson tires can be run at lower pressures (in tubeless mode) without negatively affecting performance. This was even more apparent with the wider HED wheels, as the rims’ extra width gave the tire a more pronounced u-shaped profile.
Tire manufacturers may be slow to embrace tubeless technology for road use, but Hutchinson’s Sector 28 is a real bright spot in today’s market. The French company has succeeded in delivering the advantages of tubeless tires (puncture resistance, safety) without sacrificing the performance of lightweight clinchers. Riders looking to explore dirt and gravel roads without the worry of pinch-flats would be well served by the Sector 28 tires.